CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 22, 2015
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5 Popular TV Shows that Teach You Valuable Career Lessons

Can TV shows really teach us valuable lessons? You might think that there’s nothing valuable TV can offer. After all, the primary purpose of a TV show is to entertain, generate a large audience, and earn the producers a ton of money. Well, this is not entirely true, because before something can be approved, whether it is a video game, TV show, movie or book, it must have some educational value. So, whether we notice it or not, TV shows usually have some sort of lesson attached to the story. It’s all to do with how easy to identify with a character is. If he or she suffers the same dilemmas a person in real life might face, he or she is more likely to be loved by the viewers which means better rankings and more money.

See Also: 8 Career Lessons From the Women of Mad Men

As far as career lessons are concerned, these are usually situations one can relate to during the course of the show. This is why characters sometimes lose or change their jobs, or are attracted to one of their co-workers, or make a huge mistake etc. Furthermore, some shows like Mad Men, House of Cards, House of Lies, Suits and others, are primarily focused on drama and complications that occur due to a certain career choice.

1. Friends – Don’t Let Your Career Interfere With Your Happiness

Your career is important, no need to second guess this statement, but there should be a limit to everything. Remember the very last episode of the TV series Friends? In case you can’t remember (which I believe is not humanly possible): Rachel decided to give up on her new job in Paris in order to be with Ross. In that moment she realized how pursuing her career might mean giving up on her chance to be truly happy.

Even though this is a good choice since happiness is a better goal to pursue, this is a decision that you might live to regret. What I am trying to say is that if you are preparing to make a tough decision, you’ll need to brace yourself for its inevitable aftermath. We never got to find out how things turned out for Rachel career-wise, but I think it’s safe to say that she probably had some tough times to face. You don’t just give up a major promotion in Paris when you are in the fashion industry. 

However, when you are torn between two options, do as your conscience dictates. The only thing that matters is that you have no regrets in the end.       

2. Modern Family – It’s Never Too Late to Make a Comeback

Claire in Modern Family is a perfect example of a stay-at-home mom who put her career on hold in order to raise her three children. When the time came to go back to work, Claire didn’t spend much time dwelling on the past and reevaluating her life choices, she focused on making her comeback.

She ran for town council member first, and after she failed, she decided to work for her father. So, if you ever have to put your career on hold, don’t treat the decision as final, it’s never too late to start over, and it sure beats staying at home with no one but your own regrets to keep you company.

3. Breaking Bad – Hide Your Weakness

Breaking Bad
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Breaking Bad is without a doubt one of the best shows ever made, and it offers valuable career advice on top of that. Unfortunately, it’s not that you should abandon your previous career, and start over as a drug lord because let’s face it, do you have the knowledge to do that? The most valuable piece of advice you can take from Breaking Bad is that you should never be perfectly honest with someone. Walter was involved with some of the most dangerous gangsters in the world, yet he managed to put on an iron façade, so that no one could see the inner turmoil and anxiety trying to overwhelm him.

Honesty is a great tool if you want to build a healthy relationship, but as far as your career goes, being too honest can be dangerous. Walter rarely revealed how scared he was, or just how much he knows, which put him at a significant advantage. We sure hope that you’ll never find yourself in a dangerous situation like Walter, but if you immediately show your full potential, there won’t be much room for impressing your superiors afterwards.

4. The Big Bang Theory – A New Beginning Is Better Than Flogging a Dead Horse

I hope you remember the episode in which Sheldon Cooper decided to give up on researching String Theory, his life-long project. This would be exceptionally hard for anyone, let alone Sheldon Cooper, but it doesn’t change the fact that a dead end street is a dead end street.

There may come a time in your career when you’ll have to come to terms with a wrong decision, which might have seemed great at first. The sooner you accept you were wrong the better, because you’ll have more time to focus on a new beginning.   

advice you can follow as a hustler is that a lie repeated often enough eventually becomes the truth.

5. True Detective – Your Career Can Be Your Undoing

The last lesson is inspired by True Detective. Both seasons had characters hell bent on fulfilling their duties, and even though they did the right thing, they paid a terrible price. Of course, most career choices don’t have such dramatic outcomes, but being completely absorbed in your career can, more often than not, lead to a depressing future.  

The main characters in True Detective are either loners, or end up alone. They are altered to the point where being a social outcast doesn’t bother them – sure they look cool on screen and become heroes in the end, but that’s the story only the viewers know. It is adamantly clear that society has no idea what they have done or who they are.

See Also: What Scandal’s "Olivia Pope" Teaches About Success

We usually see TV shows as a way to entertain us on those cold winter nights, but the truth is that TV is tailor-made to the needs and wants of the modern human being. And the modern human being is one concerned with his or her career. Sometimes, we can become a little too obsessed with our career choices and whether we have made right or wrong choices, but as the tv characters above prove it does not do any good to stress over these things. If you are stressed out about your career, stop taking it too seriously, otherwise all that anxiety will reflect poorly on your wellbeing. If you had, at some point, put your career on hold and you are now beginning to miss it, make a comeback. If you want to advance, impress your superiors, and don’t invest in something that lacks perspective. Try to think outside the box. As we move forward in our career path we learn new things and adopt new perspectives.

How about you? Are you currently watching any other tv shows that offer valuable career advice? Do you remember the shows above? Are there any other important career choices that that these characters made? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below.

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